History of the BBB of Fort Worth
The year was 1936 and Fort Worth, like the rest of the nation, was in the midst of the Great Depression. The severity and durations of the economic downturn had encouraged greater government intervention in the economy at all levels. Particularly at the federal level, the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt was introducing broad federal regulation in a variety of fields, ranging from agriculture to finance to manufacturing. State government was also becoming more active in policing the economy, restricting the production of such key commodities as cotton and oil. It was in this unpromising environment that the Better Business Bureau of Fort Worth was founded in October 1936.
The guiding force behind the establishment of the Bureau was three local businessmen: Jack Danciger, Ed G. Parker, and E.G. Graves. These three businessmen showed the diversity of business interests behind the establishment of the local Bureau. Danciger was a prominent local oil man while Parker and Graves were officers in the Fort Worth Retail Credit Men’s Association. The first president of the Bureau was Frank Fillinim, owner of a local automobile dealership. Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Bureau was the general manager, J.L. Pritchett.
The Bureau movement grew out of early efforts at self regulation in the advertising industry. Beginning in 1912, local “vigilance committees” were setup by advertising clubs to monitor the accuracy of advertising local media; that same year a National Vigilance Committee was formed to deal with regional and national advertising. The responsibilities of the committees moved beyond advertising to include a broader range of business activities; this lead to a decision in 1916 to change the name of the committees to “Better Business Bureaus”.
Although the Better Business Bureau movement was well established and respected by 1936, the Fort Worth Bureau experienced the predictable problems associated with the start-up of any business organization. With a limited staff and budget ($4,000 for the first year), the Bureau embarked on a program to educate the public about its activities.
Although the rise of the consumer movement is generally associated with the post- World War II
Period, consumer activism was already becoming a force to be reckoned with by the late 1930’s. The hardships of the Depression had sharpened consumer sensibilities, and the Better Business Bureau’s were among the first to respond to the changing situation.
The Fort Worth Bureau continued to expand its activities implementing a seven-point program in 1939 emphasizing guidelines for retail advertising, an enlarged consumer education program, greater cooperation among Texas Bureau’s, a weekly bulletin, and standards of practice for trade groups. The expansion was also geographical; the Fort Worth Bureau would extend it’s coverage beyond the immediate urban area to include towns in the “Fort Worth trade territory”.
From humble beginnings, the BBB of Fort Worth has grown to a staff of 20 and serves over 2 million people in Tarrant, Johnson, Hood, Wise, Parker, Palo Pinto, Somervell and Erath counties. Over 3,400 Accredited Businesses fund our services to the public. There are over 40,000 visits to our website monthly and over 80% of complaints filed are resolved with the Bureau’s assistance.
If you need assistance with a complaint or would like to get information on a company, call 817-332-7585 or email email@example.com.